Which wideouts had the worst hands in 2010?

Green Bay wide receiver James Jones catches an Aaron Rodgers pass in the endzone for the Packer’s third touchdown in the first half of their NFC divisional game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia January 15, 2011. Atlanta Falcon’s Brent Grimes is defending. UPI/Mark Wallheiser.

Certain players take a lot of criticism for dropped passes. James Jones was one of those guys in 2010, especially after he missed an opportunity for a huge gainer in Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers have to decide what to do with Jones this offseason. There was a report that they didn’t offer him a restricted free agent tender, but he says they did. This got me thinking — just how bad were Jones’ drops this year?

The number of passes that a WR drops is not a stat that is widely available. I found this table over at the Washington Post, which allowed me to calculate each player’s drops as a percentage of their targets:

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Packers top sloppy Steelers to take home 45th Lombardi Trophy

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson carries the Vince Lombardi championship trophy off the field after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington, Texas, February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Packers’ 31-25 victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

1. Aaron Rodgers, welcome to history.
I distinctly remember a few years ago when some Green Bay fans said that it was a mistake for GM Ted Thompson to choose Rodgers over Brett Favre. Hopefully those fans will happily eat a serving of crow after Sunday night because they were dead wrong. In a game where mistakes were aplenty, Rodgers made very few. He misfired on a few throws, but that’s just being nitpicky. For the most part, he was great and he would have been even better had guys like Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Brett Swain bothered to hang onto the ball. Mike McCarthy barely ran the ball in the second half, instead relying on Rodgers to win the game. After the Steelers took all the momentum in the third quarter, Rodgers stepped up and led the Packers on two huge scoring drives. On a night when he threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, I wonder how much better his numbers would have been had his receivers not dropped so many passes. He didn’t have the game of his career, but he was excellent nonetheless. He now joins exclusive company as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and MVP. As many football fans know, that now makes him virtually untouchable.

2. Once again, Green Bay battles through adversity.
How fitting was it that in a year when the Packers lost so many starters during the season that they would have to battle through more injury issues to win the Super Bowl. They lost two of their three defensive backs on consecutive plays near the end of the second quarter, including Pro Bowler and team leader Charles Woodson. Yet once again, they pushed through and overcame the hurdles that were placed in front of them. Let’s stop for a second and think about what this team was able to accomplish this year. They lost starters Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett. They needed to win two games in Week 16 and Week 17 just to qualify for the playoffs. They had to win three straight games on the road in the postseason and then they suffered a couple of more key injuries in the Super Bowl and still won it all. Talk about a team of destiny. After they lost Woodson in the second quarter, it looked like they were headed for disaster in the second half. Yet they never trailed, which is a testament to the team that Ted Thompson built off the field and the team Mike McCarthy ran on it.

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James Jones returns to Miami

Per the South Florida Sun Sentinel, James Jones has re-upped with the Heat.

So despite being forced to take a $3 million pay cut by the Miami Heat just three weeks ago, the 3-point specialist and University of Miami product said Sunday he is coming back, this time with the bonus of playing not only alongside Dwyane Wade, but also heralded free-agent additions LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

“I have to come back. This is not something I could pass up,” Jones told the Sun Sentinel. “This is too much of an opportunity to bypass.”

Jones, 29, will now wind up receiving dual paychecks from the Heat this season. Originally due $4.7 million for 2010-11, Jones received a $1.6 million buyout from the team in June. He now will sign back at the veterans’ minimum of $1 million for the coming season.

The Spurs were reportedly interested in Jones and had $2.4 million of their mid-level exception remaining (along with their $2.1 million bi-annual exception).

Jones is a career 40% three-point shooter, but hasn’t played more than 16 minutes a game in either of the last two seasons, and injuries have forced him out of 88 games during that span. He probably felt that he owed it to the franchise to sign at a discount. (If he didn’t, he should have. I have no idea why NBA contracts are fully guaranteed.)

James Jones scores eight points in 11 seconds

This has to be a record of some sort. James Jones had back-to-back four-point plays in the Heat’s loss last night to the Hawks. The two plays were part of a 14-0 (and 19-2) run that got Miami back into the game late in the second quarter (after falling behind by 21 points).

Due to the nature of the NBA game (i.e. sooooooo many timeouts, the level of play), it’s not often that you see a 14-0 run in a game. And you NEVER see back to back four-point plays. (Granted, it didn’t really look like Mike Bibby fouled him on that second make, but still.)

2008 NBA Preview: #12 Miami Heat

Offseason Movement: The team acquired two big names via the draft. Michael Beasley should play a ton of minutes right away and Mario Chalmers is a nice point guard prospect. The Heat also signed three-point specialist James Jones and signed Shaun Livingston to a two-year deal.
Keep Your Eye On: Michael Beasley, F
In many ways, the Heat’s playoff chances rely heavily on how quickly the talented scoring forward can adjust to the NBA game. He is averaging over 15 points and 48% shooting in preseason, so all signs point to a ROY-type season. Beasley can score from just about anywhere on the court and he and Dwyane Wade should provide a formidable one-two punch.
The Big Question: Can Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley co-exist?
Conventional wisdom states that Marion and Beasley play the same position so therefore one of them (Marion) has to go. But in today’s NBA, I see no reason why the two can’t play together on Miami’s frontline. Beasley is a player that has to have the ball in his hands. You run plays for him, you throw it to him in the post, whatever. Conversely, Marion is an energy player who gets most of his points on the break, on offensive rebounds or spotting up in the corner for a three-point shot. The Marion trade talk is already hot and heavy, and there are two things working against the Matrix sticking around in Miami – his age and his asking price. He’s 30, so does he really fit into Miami’s rebuilding plan? Is Miami really rebuilding or could they contend in the next 1-3 seasons? If so, it might be wise to hold onto Marion if the trio gels. If not, the Heat will almost certainly trade Marion, though finding a taker might be tough considering his asking price. A Marion for Lamar Odom swap makes a lot of sense for both teams. The other option is to let Marion go, which will free up a ton of cap space next summer.
Outlook: With Wade, Beasley and Shawn Marion, the Heat have a very scary lineup at the 2-3-4. If all three – but especially Wade – can stay healthy, and they can get decent play at center ant point guard, Miami will make some noise. I’m sure I will take some flack for picking the Heat to finish ahead of the Cavs, but I just like Wade’s supporting cast a lot more. It’s not that Miami is deeper, it’s just that Marion and Beasley are probably better than the next two guys on Cleveland’s roster. Honestly, things are so tight in the middle third of the league that it doesn’t really matter.

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